When I first heard that the nutjob who took a bunch of shots at the White House was being charged with attempting to assassinate the President of the United States, I was a bit scornful. This was one whacko who popped off less than a dozen shots towards the White House from some distance away, hit no one, and not one bullet actually got into the White House. Most importantly, Obama was about half the globe away, and never in the slightest danger. The legal charges seemed, to me, a bit of overkill.
And then I had a couple of second thoughts. The first was prompted by the video of the nut talking to Oprah Winfrey about how he is the returned Jesus. That confirmed to me that the guy wasn’t a dedicated assassin or a political extremist, he was just plain loony. And a dangerous one, a less-competent cousin of the Tuscon shooter.
And then I had a second thought. Yes, President Obama is half a world away. But the shots hit around the residential area of the White House, including the often-used Truman Balcony. And I don’t know if Obama’s traveling with his entire family. While he was off in the Pacific, he wife, daughters, and mother-in-law could have been in the White House. And while the law and charges specifically cover just President Obama, I’m of the “close enough” category that I’m willing to cut authorities a little slack in this case.
What I suspect is that the authorities have come to the same conclusion I have — this guy is a seriously crazy and dangerous nut who certainly intended to kill President Obama. His failure is based on his own inability to grasp reality, not lack of intent, and did put plenty of people — including, possibly, members of the First Family — at risk. Hitting him with the most serious charge lets the authorities keep this nut locked up and give him a full psychological workup — and then, maybe, get him committed and get the treatment he needs.
So, yeah, technically speaking, the “attempted assassination” charge is a bit of overkill, but this is one area where you simply don’t ass around. Anyone who opens up on the White House with a gun needs to be locked up, and locked up for a goodly time — regardless of the actual presence or absence of the president.
Oh, and Mr. White House Shooter? You’re not Jesus. I have some friends who are quite close with him, and they assure me you ain’t him.